12 June 2010

Tuesday 11th June 1940

Warm, fine sunny day. To Uncle Ben's at Malden too see his garden: very nice indeed. Had tea there and stayed till Frank and Arthur came home. Made a change.

On this day:

  • Australia, New Zealand and South Africa declared war on Italy.
  • Italian aircraft bombed Malta for first time, also French bases in Corsica and Tunisia.
  • Churchill rejected request by French leader M. Reynaud to release France from pledge not to sign a separate peace treaty with Germany.
  • 36 RAF bombers, refuelling in Channel Islands, set out to bomb Italy. 23 aborted due to weather, 10 bombed Fiat works and elsewhere in Turin, 2 bombed Genoa, one was lost.
This is from the minutes of the War Cabinet for 11 June 1940, recording the cover-up necessary when Churchill secretly visited unoccupied France to talk with Reynaud. Churchill warned he may need to stay a second day. (The War Cabinet minutes can be downloaded from The National Archives.) 
A short discussion followed on the guidance which should be
given to the Press as to the reason for the Prime M i n i s t e r s absence 
from the House of Commons in the afternoon, which would certainly 
be noticed. 
The War C a b i n e t i
nvited the Lord Privy Seal to make a statement in the 
House of Commons in place of the Prime Minister as to 
I t a l y ' s entry into the war, in the course of which he should 
explain the Prime M i n i s t e r s absence by saying that he 
was naturally closely engaged in urgent business with the 
Service Ministers.'

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